How much does a funeral cost? This pointed question has the potential to make some funeral directors feel uncomfortable.
Funeral directors are consummate professionals who provide invaluable services to emotionally vulnerable families. What other profession requires its practitioners to wear so many different hats? From the moment they are contacted by a grieving family, funeral directors must handle a multitude of technical, legal and medical tasks. Funeral professionals act as event planners, help families sort through government red tape, provide links to support groups, and coordinate a meaningful gathering of family and friends. Oh, and this service is expected to be available 24/7, every day of the year. In short, funeral professionals are accomplished multi-taskers who take a great deal of pride in helping grieving families.
However, when someone starts asking about the dollar value of funeral merchandise or services, it's easy to feel unsettled. Perhaps putting things into perspective would help: Funerals are one of the most important and emotional events that a family will plan. It is the final goodbye for a loved one, the last chance to pay tribute to a unique life. The only other event that can compare with the significance and emotion of a funeral is a wedding. According to the website MyCanadianWedding.com, the average cost of a wedding is between $20,000 and $30,000. That's equivalent to the price of a new car or a great down payment on a mortgage! A professional wedding photographer can cost as much as the price of a mid-range casket. Most Canadian couples don't think twice about forking over $1,000 for a dress that will be worn once, or another $1,000 for a deejay who will blast out such timeless classics as The Macarena or The Chicken Dance. Most Canadians eagerly anticipate taking a vacation. The average cost of a domestic holiday is $1,000. Overseas travel will cost at least $3,500. This spending represents a substantial amount of after-tax savings, yet most families wouldn't consider giving up their annual vacations. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian families spend between $200 and $400 for a child's birthday party. These families could purchase a lovely cremation urn for the same price as hosting Johnny or Suzy's pals at Chuck E Cheese. A 2006 report from Statistics Canada makes it clear that Canadian households are happy to open their wallets for many items of questionable or limited value: o Canadian households spent $610 a year on tobacco products. o Games of chance cost the average household a whopping $260. o Calgarians spent nearly $1,500 on cell phones and conventional landlines. o The average Canadian household forks over $290 on computers and computer-related purchases. (Average spending on Internet services was $270.) o Households in Prince Edward Island spent an average of $114 on newspapers. As the statistics cited above show, Canadians are not shy about paying for products or services with a perceived value. There is no reason to believe that consumers would feel any differently when confronted with the profound value of the services supplied by licensed funeral homes.
Funeral directors need to overcome their professional modesty and communicate the true value of their services to the families who walk through their doors. This message needs to be consistently and constantly communicated in every marketing tool and every time a client interacts with a member of the funeral home staff. Finally, it is worthwhile to reflect on the cost of NOT utilizing the services of a licensed funeral director. What price will be paid if a grieving family fails to celebrate the life of the recently deceased? What is the emotional cost for families who opt to forego a meaningful gathering with family and friends? Many therapists, bereavement counselors and psychologists could attest to the high emotional cost paid in such cases. Canadian families who receive expert counsel and support from their funeral director would probably rewrite those famous credit card ads to read something like this: Casket: $5,000 Marble urn: $500 Obituary: $350 Knowing that a licensed FSAC funeral director is in your corner: Priceless.
Printed by Funeral Service Association of Canada in 2011 Laura Sharp, Sharpshooter PR